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Casa, Portelli eyeing PN secretary general post

Both men confirm their interest

David Casa. Right: Pierre Portelli.

David Casa. Right: Pierre Portelli.

David Casa and Pierre Portelli have confirmed they are actively considering a bid for the post of secretary general of the PN.

Mr Casa is the head of the PN’s MEP delegation at the European Parliament, and Mr Portelli is the former head of content at The Malta Independent and a former official of the party.

In a surprise move, MP Toni Bezzina is considering running for the post of deputy leader for party affairs with Robert Arrigo and possibly Clyde Puli.

So far, Mr Casa and Mr Portelli are the only two who appear to be seeking the second most powerful position in the PN hierarchy.

Mr Casa, the longest serving PN MEP, said he was “seriously considering” contesting for secretary general and had secured the support of a number of PN MPs.

However, when pressed to state whether he would definitely put his name in the hat, he said he still had to discuss his intentions with PN leader Adrian Delia.

“If I can contribute to strengthening and unifying the party, then I am ready and willing to be of service,” Mr Casa said.

“I am not yet in a positon to provide a ‘yes,’ as I have not yet discussed my candidacy within the party structures, and I feel it is my duty to do so prior to making any official announcement.

“But I have taken note of the wish of party members, MPs and party officials for me to serve the party in this way, and I am ready to do so.”

Mr Portelli – who was already active in the PN a number of years ago – is also taking a wait-and-see approach, although he confirmed that he too is seriously considering the post of secretary general.

“Yes, I am definitely thinking about it. However, the most important thing is that I will have a role within the PN – something which I had decided to do before the last general election.”

Asked whether he would be more interested in an executive role in Dr Delia’s core team – perhaps as his chief of staff – Mr Portelli did not exclude anything. However, he said he did not believe in the chief-of-staff method and preferred that the leader should have a support team.

Financial considerations could possibly play a part in the final decisions to be taken by both prospective candidates.

For Mr Casa, who is single, the role of secretary general would signify a major reduction in his remuneration: almost a third of his current €9,000 monthly salary.

For Mr Portelli, with a family of five, the salary pegged to the current positon of secretary general may not be enough to meet his family and lifestyle needs.

Still, when asked, Mr Portelli did not appear worried about this, saying he “would still like to contribute, without putting too much stress on the party’s not-so-rosy financial situation”.

Meanwhile, party insiders confirmed to this newspaper that apart from Mr Arrigo and Mr Puli, there may be a third contestant for the post of deputy leader for party affairs. Mr Bezzina – the PN’s most popular candidate in the fifth district – is considering the possibility of contesting.

When contacted, he said he was still evaluating his options.

Mr Puli is known to be meeting party activists to drum up support for his potential candidacy, but he has still to declare his intentions.

Party insiders say that Mr Arrigo is in pole position, “by far”, to win the election to the post.

The other deputy leadership position – that of deputy leader for parliamentary affairs – is so far expected to be contested by David Agius and Edwin Vassallo.

However, sources say the party leadership is actively encouraging more MPs to contest, as it feels there are others who have the capacity to serve.

PN officials’ election timeline

October 9-13: Nominations for two deputy leadership posts.
October 18-24: Nominations for president of the general council and 18 members of the executive.
November 4: Elections for the president of the general council and members of the executive committee
November 18: Election of the deputy leaders
November 23: Executive committee to elect the secretary general

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